Complete New Zealand (27 Days) – From £3,995.00
Departures throughout the year.
Prices are per person based on twin-share:
Tour only from £3,995
Tour and flight from £4,995
This is the ultimate self drive tailor-made holiday combining outstanding hotel and boutique bed & breakfast accommodation with unforgettable scenic highlights and experiences. Board the TranzAlpine train in Christchurch for one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, delve deep into Maori culture and traditions at Te Puia and spend a night at one with nature on an overnight Milford Sound trip.
- Head up the Sky Tower for great views across the city, or explore the vibrant downtown waterfront
Haere mai – welcome! We greet your flight and take you straight to your accommodation for the next two nights. A small hotel, just two minutes stroll to Ponsonby’s vibrant cafés, restaurants, galleries or a five minute taxi ride to the harbour and city centre. The rest of your day is at leisure.
- Enjoy a 2-hour sailing experience aboard an America’s Cup Yacht
A day to explore the islands of the Hauraki Maritime Gulf, take the ferry to Rangitoto Island and walk up to the summit for 360° views or head to the conservation island of Tiritiri Matangi to see rare native birds such as the Takahe and the Kokako.
- Follow your Maori guide into the forest at Waipoua and learn about the ancient Kauri trees, including ‘the lord of the forest’ Tane Mahuta
Collect your rental vehicle and drive north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, along the Hibiscus Coast Highway to the Waipoua Forest.
Follow the path of the Ngāpuhi Iwi warriors to the Flagstaff battlegrounds and finally to tranquil and pretty Paihia, a seaside town with a relaxed holiday feel.
- Take a cruise out to Cape Brett on a high speed catamaran
144 islands are scattered across this beautiful bay, in warm shallow waters that are perfect for marine life and travellers alike.
Visit the famous Hole in the Rock, head out into the bay with a chance to swim with dolphins and learn a little more of the area’s rip-roaring past on a guided tour.
- Get up close to the largest flock of Wrybills in the world at the Shorebird Centre and view the gleaming white shell banks there
Begin your day at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where ‘modern’ New Zealand was in essence founded on the signing of the 1840 treaty between Maori tribes and British settlers.
Enter the magnificent meeting house, be awestruck at the size of the war canoe and stroll across the lawns for views over the sea.
Head south, through the lush farmland of Waikato to the Firth of Thames and stop off at the Miranda Shorebird Centre to learn about some of New Zealand’s most fascinating birdlife.
- Wander along the beach to Cathedral Cove, to view the naturally formed archway on the beach, one of the most photographed sites in the country
With stunning white cliffs, golden beaches, and breath-taking turquoise waters, the Coromandel is a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders.
Visit Hot Water Beach, where you’ll find hot water bubbling up through the sand and you can dig your own hot pool to relax in!
- Walk some of the trails through Rotorua’s spectacular Redwood Forest
On to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua , to take a trip to Te Puia with its geothermal valley, exploding geysers and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. In the evening enjoy a cultural experience that culminates with a traditional Maori hangi for your evening meal.
- Enjoy dinner at the Mission Estate Winery, one of the oldest in New Zealand
Travel south to Taupo, nestled on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake, stopping to appreciate the crashing waters of Huka Falls before continuing through to the township.
From here drive through the Eskdale Valley, into Hawkes Bay and arrive in Napier, a wonderful Art Deco town with a fascinating history and wonderful architecture. The town is also the gateway to the Hawkes Bay wine country.
- Head out to Te Mata Peak in nearby Havelock North where you can drive or take a hike up to the peak to enjoy the beautiful panoramic views out across the mountain ranges
Enjoy exploring this region, famed for its fantastic wines and sunny climate. We recommend leaving the car at home today, and hiring bikes to make the most of the winery tours and tastings that are a must in the area.
- Take a walk around Oriental Parade for views back over the cities central business district, and stop for dinner at the Fishermans Wharf restaurant
Drive through the farmlands of Central Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa where you may want to stop at the pretty town of Greytown and enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes and bakeries.
Then head over the Rimutaka Hill and around the harbour into Wellington, the Capital City and Seat of Parliament.
- Immerse yourself in history and culture at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum
Spend the day exploring New Zealand’s compact capital city, and head out to Mount Victoria for an easy climb up to enjoy the panoramic views out over the harbour and beyond.
Take the iconic red cable car up to the Kelburn lookout and wander back down through the Botanic Gardens stopping off for tea in the Lady Rosewood Garden.
- Visit some of the areas many artists galleries and workshops
Return your rental vehicle to the Wellington Ferry Terminal before departing on the Interislander Ferry for the three and a half hour cruise across the Cook Strait and through the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound to the South Island.
Arrive into Picton and take a coach across the top of the South Island to Nelson, an area known for its high ratio of sunshine, and a wonderfully diverse natural beauty.
Close up experience
- Paddle around the golden bays in a kayak to get truly up close to nature
Transfer by coach from Nelson to Kaiteriteri for a cruise into the heart of Abel Tasman National Park and disembark at idyllic Medlands Beach.
Walk the most varied section of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, along a path that weaves through manuka groves and around the spectacular Torrent Bay estuary to the long, golden sands of Anchorage Beach.
Return to Kaiteriteri by boat then to Nelson by coach.
- Visit the Hokitika Museum for an insight into its gold mining history
Depart Christchurch on the TranzAlpine train for a scenic rail journey through the splendour of the Southern Alps to the West Coast. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River to Arthur’s Pass before continuing on to the town of Greymouth.
Collect your rental car and drive down the West Coast to the town of Hokitika, famed for its gold mining heritage.
- Keep an eye out for cheeky keas (alpine parrots) as you walk up to the glacier – they love to nibble a rucksack!
Travel to Westland National Park, where ice meets rainforest at the foot of the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. Stay in laid-back Fox Township for ease of access to the slowly moving ‘river’ of ice.
Walk to the terminal face, take a guided heli-hike or sightseeing flight to experience the glacier close up.
- Visit the National transport and Toy Museum in Wanaka with its wonderful collection of nostalgic toys and vehicles
Drive south along the coast before turning inland to enjoy a scenery of rushing rivers and waterfalls as you climb up the Haast river valley to Haast Pass and into Mount Aspiring National Park.
The atmosphere lightens as you reach lovely Lake Wanaka, reflecting the mountain peaks that in winter offer superb skiing.
- Relax in the evening at Cinema Paradiso, with its comfy sofas and even a classic Morris Minor to sit in to view the latest releases
Here you can take lakeside walks, drive further into the park for stunning views of Glendhu Bay or enjoy an exhilarating jet boat trip on the Matukituki River, guaranteed to set the pulse racing!
- Take a jet–boat ride in the Shotover River Canyons
Today enjoy an easy drive over the Crown Range through orchards and farmlands to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure playground and South Island’s busiest resort.
Spend the afternoon exploring this action packed little town. Queenstown offers a huge choice of activities, and however adventurous you are, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
- A cruise aboard the classic steamship TSS Earnslaw is an unforgettable way to discover Lake Wakatipu
Take a short drive out to the pretty gold mining town of Arrowtown, or ride up the Skyline Gondola to take in panoramic views of the area.
Thrill-seekers can zip-line from Bob’s Peak or head off on a 4×4 safari to Skippers Canyon.
Local wineries welcome visitors for tastings and tours, and several of them have excellent restaurants for a special evening meal.
- Take to the water and kayak closer to Milford’s mystery
The road into Milford Sound winds through deep valleys past the aptly-named Mirror Lakes, through the Homer Tunnel and the ‘chasm’ in the Cleddau Valley to reach the Sound.
Here you board the Milford Mariner to cruise the full length of the Sound, learning about its geology, flora and fauna from the on-board expert, before anchoring in a sheltered cove. Absorb the beauty from a seat on deck.
- Visit the Railway Station with its stunning architecture and thousands of Minton and Royal Doulton tiles that adorn the booking hall
Drive along the shores of Lake Te Anau and through the sheep farming heartland of South Island.
As you pass through Balclutha, take a break to stretch your legs on the Blair Atholl Walkway before continuing on to the city of Dunedin.
Close up experience
- Take the special walkway through the Little Blue Penguin colony where these smallest penguins in the world nest in sandy burrows and run the gauntlet of fur seals before reaching the open sea
Head out to the Otago peninsula, which protects the city from southern storms and gives shelter to penguins, seals and – uniquely – the Royal Albatross. Taiaroa Heads is this majestic bird’s only mainland nesting site in the world.
About 30 pairs nest every year, and as the cycle from egg-laying to fledgling takes almost 12 months, there is always fascinating behaviour to observe.
Close up experience
- A Take an early evening punt down the River Avon
We recommend an early start today as it’s a four hour drive to Christchurch.
Head down the Tasman Valley from Mt Cook and on to Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the window behind the altar frames an astonishing view of the lake.
Then on across the high country’s tussock plains, through Fairlie and Geraldine to the ‘Garden City’.
- Enjoy a coffee or lunch by the waters edge at Akaroa with its pretty harbour and holiday feel.
Following 2011’s devastating earthquake, the city is fast-rebuilding, blending old (the Botanic Gardens, River Avon and the electric Tram) with new (the extraordinary temporary Cathedral, the Re:START Mall and countless pop-up bars and restaurants) to reclaim its place as the premier city on South Island. A guided tour with a local is a must.
Although New Zealand is one of the easiest countries to travel to, we realise that contemplating a long haul trip to the other side of the world can be daunting, so we’ve put together some essential information that you will need to know before you head off on your holiday.
We hope we’ve covered everything, but do give us a call if you have any other questions or queries or are unsure about any details.
New Zealand is made up of two Islands, The North Island and The South Island. The majority of the population live on the North Island.
The country has an incredibly varied landscape. You’ll find wide, sweeping coastlines, spectacular mountain ranges, tropical rainforest, steaming volcanos and stunning glacier regions. It truly has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking peace, quiet and relaxation, or the thrill and adrenaline rush of all the adventure it offers.
New Zealand also has 14 National Parks that showcase more than 30,000 square kilometres of wonderful nature and breathtaking scenery.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), making it one of the first countries in the world to welcome in each new day.
Like us here in the UK, New Zealand observes Daylight Saving, and so during their summer time (and our winter time) their clocks go forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
Being in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealands seasons are the opposite way around to ours, so December to February are their hottest months, and also the most expensive time to visit. June to September is the peak season for skiing in the ski resorts of Wanaka, Queenstown and Canterbury on the South Island, and the inbetween or ‘shoulder seasons’ often offer the best of both worlds, with better prices, more accommodation options and less tourists while still enjoying bright sunny days and warm weather.
Health and Insurance
We realise how difficult can be for our older travellers to find travel Insurance at a reasonable cost, and after a lot of research, are confident that our current partner Holiday Extras offer the best value for money insurance policies.
You don’t need any vaccinations to travel to New Zealand, and you will find doctors and health centres in every large town and city. Calling 111 will contact the emergency services from anywhere in the country.
It’s perfectly safe to drink the tap water in New Zealand, so there is no need to worry about needing to purchase bottled water when you are there.
Airport Hotels, Parking & Lounge Passes
Depending on the time of your flight you may wish to avoid an early morning start by checking into an Airport hotel. With our partner, Holiday Extras, we are able to offer a range of hotel options and parking arrangements. There are also a number of airport lounges you can book if there is considerable waiting time between your flights. These lounges offer a range of facilities from refreshments and drinks to showers and comfortable seating areas in a quiet environment.
Car hire companies often charge an excess for damage caused to the car whilst you’re behind the wheel even if it’s not your fault. This can be upwards of £1000 meaning if you’re involved in an accident, you’ll have to pay a contribution to cover the damage
To reduce this amount they offer what is called an Excess Insurance or Damage Waiver, typically around $25-$30.00 per day .If you’re following a two or three week itinerary, this can add up to around $ 600.00
However you can purchase an annual excess car hire insurance in the UK for a lot less.
Our suggestion is to contact an insurance company such as insurance4carhire.com, With them you’re able to reclaim the excess you’d have to pay in the unfortunate event of an accident or your car being stolen. You may also get more cover compared with waiving the excess at the car hire desk.
You do not need a visa to travel to New Zealand as a British Citizen or British passport holder (and you can stay for up to six months).
However you do require
- a passport that is valid for three months after you return from your holiday
- A return ticket home (or an onward ticket to another country that you are permitted to enter
- Adequate funds to support yourself while you are away – usually NZ$1000 per month per person
For Silver Fern travellers contemplating stopovers en route to New Zealand or integrating a New Zealand holiday with a longer worldwide tour, a visa may be required.
For example an Australian tourist visa is necessary for anyone entering the country other than those in transit. Similarly entrants to America should have arranged an ESTA. These can be applied for online or through the Travel Visa Company, one of our trade partners who charge for this service.
Currency and Credit Cards
The currency in New Zealand is the NZ Dollar. The exchange rate varies but as a general guide, there is NZ$2 / NZ$2.20 to every GBP£1.
You can use all major credit cards in New Zealand, and ATM’s are found as easily as they are in the UK, on most high streets, in shopping malls and in banks. You can also exchange foreign currency at banks, some hotels and bureau de change kiosks.
Do let your bank know you’ll be travelling before you leave home though to ensure that you’re able to use your card overseas.
What to pack
Holiday packing is always a challenge, especially when you’re going away for longer than a week or two, so we wrote a blog post offering our advice on how to pack for your New Zealand holiday – you can read it here. Remember to pack a good pair of sturdy walking boots if you’re planning to get out and explore some of the country on foot, and we recommend lightweight layers that you can add/remove depending on the weather.
Electronics and mobile devices
You can buy a prepaid Vodafone sim card at the airport or many of the local shop to put in your phone but its always worth checking with your mobile phone provider to see if they offer an overseas package before you leave home.
New Zealand electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, and they use the same plug as in Australia, with two or three pins. You’ll need to use an adapter for all appliances, which can easily be purchased either in the UK before you travel or once you’re in New Zealand.
Wi-fi is widely available in most hotels and B&B’s and also in many cafes and eateries.
As far as possible we have endeavoured to make this information as accurate as possible, but we always recommend that you do make sure to double check things like Visa’s / Insurance etc before travel as changes do occur.
Bev & John Blackham
We thought we’d email you to express our thanks to you for organising the holiday, it went like a dream. Right from being met at Christchurch airport by your representative and being handed the book of vouchers and road atlas (which was priceless). Every voucher worked without a hitch (amazing).
The Milford track, Abel Tasman, Muller hut at Mount Cooke, Tongariro crossing and many of the other walks you suggested were stunning. New Zealand is such a well organised country and the people so friendly and the roads so empty.
The car hire worked well and we’re pleased we decided not to have a camper van with the mileage we were travelling a car is so much easier.
Again many thanks to you for the hard work you have put in to making our holiday a success and the link up with Emma and Josh went really well.
Brian & Nicky Dale
We had a fabulous holiday…not sure I can pick out the best bits! Tiri Tiri Matangi trip, Bay of Islands (dolphins), Kauri trees, Cathedral Cove, Tongariro, Queen Charlotte Sound in to Picton, Kaikoura Peninsular, Lake Matheson, Glaciers, Wanaka, Milford Sound, shotover jet in Queenstown, Mt Cook Hooker Valley walk…..all of it really!
The accommodation was all superb and we loved the book of prepaid vouchers…I know we’ve paid but not having to think about how much we were paying as we went along made things more enjoyable somehow, especially given the excellent B&B’s and hotels you found us and the 5 star nature of some of them!
I also want to say that directions to the various accommodations given in the final itinerary were spot on and took us straight there every time..I don’t think we ever got lost which is impressive! Everywhere we stayed we found ourselves ideally positioned for whatever we were there for which was much appreciated and well thought out.
We loved the scenery everywhere we went…as one fellow tourist commented at the top of Mt Ruapehu it doesn’t seem fair that one country should have everything! We never felt it was time to go home since there was always something special to look forward to the next day and the one after that…the four and a half weeks just touched the surface but we’re so lucky to have been able to make the trip and will remember it for years to come.
Thank you for helping us to have the holiday of a lifetime. We are certainly recommending Silverfern to everyone we talk New Zealand to!
Healey & Callow’s
The organisation through the whole trip was marvellous – much better than if we’d planned it ourselves.